This is the first report written by this editorial team. We started to review manuscripts in January 2021, and the articles we select will begin to be published in volume 57 (2022). At that time, LARR will have completed its transfer to a new publisher, Cambridge University Press. The transfer will allow LARR to benefit from the prestige and promotion strategies of a large academic publisher, an updated processing system, and the ability to publish articles in an early view modality. This report discusses the work of the editorial team and analyzes the flow of manuscripts, the editorial decisions, and the articles published in 2020. The report introduces the winner of the most recent LARR-UF award and explains the changes that we are introducing to the journal, such as a new Debates section.
LARR has consistently improved its impact factor in the last few years. According to Web of Science, LARR’s impact factor increased from 0.368 in 2015 to 0.841 in 2019. The data for 2020 is not available at the time of this writing. LARR’s cite score in Scopus was 1.2 in 2019, and its tracker foresees a score of 1.3 in 2020. LARR is listed above the 90th percentile in several disciplines: Literature (97), History (92), and Arts and Humanities (91). Its ranking in the humanistic social sciences is not as high (70). The editorial team plans to reinforce the prestige of LARR in this area. LASA’s journal continues to have a solid reputation in the quantitative social sciences, an aspect that the current team aims to maintain.
I already introduced the new editorial team in our previous foreword (LARR 56, no. 1, 2021). As stated there, the idea behind the selection of the team has been to promote critical perspectives; to include editors located in Latin America, the United States, and elsewhere; to promote gender balance and feminist perspectives; to seek a diverse and inclusive team; and to continue reinforcing the traditional academic rigor and quality of LARR. Juan Carlos Callirgos (PUCP, Peru), Pavel Shlossberg (Gonzaga, US), Lena Lavinas (UFRJ, Brazil), Alicia Girón (UNAM, Mexico), Heather Vrana (University of Florida, US), Christopher Britt (George Washington, US), Abby Córdova (University of Notre Dame, US), Jana Morgan (University of Tennessee, US), Joel Stillerman (Grand Valley State, US), Fabrice Lehoucq (University of North Carolina-Greensboro), Daniel Fernandez Guevara (University of Florida, US), and our managing editor Sara Lickey (LASA) have been doing a great job at processing manuscripts and curating them from submission to publication. Unfortunately, Lena Lavinas has had to leave LARR due to other commitments, and she has been replaced by Rosa Luz Durán (Universidad de Lima, Peru). I thank Lena for her service to the journal during the past few months.
LARR received 334 manuscripts in the period between May 2020 and April 2021. From those, 122 arrived in 2021. This represents an increase of 36.3 percent in submissions in comparison to calendar year 2019. It is possible that the long Covid-19 lockdowns have allowed academics throughout the world more time to write. The start of a new editorial team may also have encouraged additional authors to submit. We welcome all academic submissions and particularly those that advance critical perspectives and move forward the field of Latin American studies. We particularly encourage scholarship that tackles significant topics for the region and the Latin American diaspora. In addition, we expect articles that demonstrate both analytical depth and empirical rigor. The review process will continue to be as demanding as it has been in the past.
Interestingly, the submissions coming from Brazil have recently outnumbered those from the United States. They are followed by contributions from Spain, Chile, and Colombia (Figure 1). The fact that LARR publishes in three languages—English, Spanish, and Portuguese—has encouraged international submissions. This characteristic is also a challenge for the editorial team, as it needs to understand and accommodate diverse academic traditions and languages. The fact that countries in Latin America compel their academics to publish in international peer reviewed journals has probably had an impact on the increase of submissions from the region.
About 60 percent of all submissions are in the social sciences (economics, political science, international relations, and sociology) while the remaining 40 percent are in the humanities and humanistic social sciences (anthropology, history, literature, and cultural studies) (Figure 2). This continues a trend that started in previous years. Former editor Aníbal Pérez-Liñán achieved increasing the prestige of LARR in the humanities. The new team encourages authors relying on humanistic and qualitative approaches to submit to LARR. Most submissions are in political science and international relations, economics, and literature and cultural studies. The team has two associate editors in each of these areas to expedite the review process.
The editorial team made 234 final decisions and 142 decisions to send manuscripts for review or for a second round of review between May 2020 and April 2021 (a total of 376 decisions). Figure 3 classifies the decisions into accepts after round 1 or 2, internal or desk rejections, rejections after a first round of review, and manuscripts that have been sent for a first or second round of review and are still being processed. The rate of acceptance in 2020 according to Ubiquity Press was 16.2 percent.
On average, it took 26 days to reject manuscripts after internal review, 113 days to reject after peer review, 133 days to accept after a first round of review and 238 to accept after a second round of review (Figure 4). The times are much faster than those conveyed in the 2020 report of the previous team. In 2019, it took 44 days to desk reject a manuscript, 215 to reject after peer review, and an average of 407 days to accept. We should note that this was a transition year, so the improvement reflects both the efforts of the previous team, the energies of the new team, and the assignment of two associate editors to those areas that have a heavier flow of manuscripts.
Volume 55 (2020) contained forty-two articles (excluding book review essays) written by sixty-nine authors; 32 percent of the authors were women. We feel that this statistic could be improved. We hope that with a female editor in chief and several leading female scholars working as associate editors, as well as our aim to privilege gender aware and feminist perspectives, the number of female authors will increase.
In terms of geographic distribution, 53 percent of the authors sent their manuscripts from Latin America, 34 percent from the US, and 10 percent from Europe and beyond. In the previous year only 30 percent of the submissions came from Latin America, so this means a considerable expansion. Regarding language, 46 percent of the articles were published in English, 39 percent in Spanish, and 14 percent in Portuguese. Publication in languages other than English has also increased considerably in the past year. This data proves that LARR is a truly international journal as well as a space for diverse academic traditions. In the future, we would like to expand the number of articles published by Afro-descendant and Indigenous scholars from Latin America and elsewhere. We strongly encourage underrepresented scholars to submit their work to LARR.
Regarding academic subjects, about 60 percent of the articles were published in the social sciences (political science, international relations, economics, and sociology) and 40 percent in the humanities and the humanistic social sciences (literature, cultural studies, history, and anthropology). As noted above, we strongly encourage quality submissions in the humanistic social sciences and the humanities. The percentages of publication by subject are similar to the percentages of submissions.
Our book review section was exceptionally active in 2020. A total of twenty-five book review essays were published in volume 55, an average of six review essays per issue. Our book review essays are very useful to researchers and teachers, and they are among our most cited articles. We are thankful to our tireless, thoughtful, and engaged book review editor Fabrice Lehoucq. We acknowledge that the job of book review editor is not an easy one.
LARR’s articles reached a broader audience in Facebook and Twitter thanks to the dedication of Paloma Díaz Lobos (University of Texas, Austin). She has added beautiful visuals to the postings of articles to call the attention of readers. We will encourage authors to send a visual with their accepted articles to use in social media. Another means of dissemination has been the Panoramas blog hosted by the University of Pittsburgh. Elías Chavarría Mora (University of Pittsburgh) has done a good job with the blog and other tasks for LARR. We thank Elías for his service.
The LARR–University of Florida Article Award will be presented annually for the next five years. It recognizes the best paper published in LARR in its last volume. This year the award committee selected “I Monster: Embodying Trans and Travesti Resistance in Latin America” by Joseph M. Pierce (Stony Brook University). The article discusses the contradictions of a rights-based approach to sexual citizenship. It denounces anti-trans violence and argues that the trans community does not perceive the state as a source of identification, safety, or freedom. Pierce is an associate professor of Hispanic languages and literatures and a citizen of the Cherokee nation. The award committee was formed by Scott Morgenstern (University of Pittsburgh), Xochitl Bada (University of Illinois, Chicago), and Albert Laguna (Yale University). We are grateful to the committee members for their service.
The LARR–University of Florida Article Award is supported by the University of Florida to honor its long-standing commitment to Latin American studies. It carries a prize of $500 and recognition at the LASA Congress. We encourage our readers and authors to nominate their favorite article published in volume 56 (2021). The call for nominations remains open throughout 2021. If you wish to nominate an article, please fill out the nomination form in the following link: https://lasaweb.org/en/lasa2022/larr-article-award.
The incoming editorial team has created a new section to encourage additional theoretical and epistemological reflection on key topics in Latin American Studies. The new Debates section of LARR is a space for theoretical and epistemological reflection on the field of Latin American studies. The section publishes essays in any social science or humanities discipline that redefine and advance the field of Latin American studies, contrast perspectives originating in Latin America with those arising from the global North or elsewhere, discuss the conditions of production of Latin Americanist knowledge, and beyond. Essays must be of interest to an interdisciplinary audience and accessible to a general academic readership. We encourage our authors, readers, and other members of the Latin American Studies Association to submit to the section!
I am grateful to Daniel Fernandez Guevara and Sara Lickey for their help with this report.